The impossibly stylish city of oaks is justifiably famous for its heritage architecture, view-drenched wine estates, and some of the finest restaurants in the land. Here, we round up the ones that have grabbed our attention – from haute-cuisine hotel restaurants to homely country kitchens, family-friendly farms, and even a self-service burger deck.
1. RUST EN VREDE
An all-round first-class experience awaits you at this warm and welcoming restaurant, with someone to greet you on arrival, top service throughout your meal, and exquisite French-inspired cuisine. It is all tied together perfectly with an amazing venue in the estate’s original cellar, built in 1785. It is no wonder that two of SA’s finest chefs – Gregory Czarnecki and Luke Dale-Roberts – rated it among the best restaurants in the land, not to mention its spot on Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants in the World in 2014.
Inside info Rust en Vrede’s current sous chef, Fabio Daniel, steps up the plate as the new head chef from 1 August 2017.
Opening times Monday, 9am – 5pm
Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 10pm
Contact 021 881 3757, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Rust en Vrede, Annandale Road
Reviewer Matthew Flax
At this multiple-award-winning restaurant, head chef Michael Broughton impresses diners with layered yet “deceptively simple” dishes that evolve with the seasons. The fresh line fish with potato gnocchi, mushroom and Pernod, for instance, is a classic example of chef Broughton’s “less is more” philosophy. Situated on the breathtakingly beautiful Kleine Zalze estate, under the coolness of old oak trees and with views of the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains, Terroir is one that’ll impress even the most jaded out-of-towners.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm
Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm
Please note From 3 July 2017, the restaurant is closed for its winter break; it re-opens on 25 July 2017.
Contact 021 880 8167, email@example.com
Location Terroir, Kleine Zalze Wine Estate, Strand Road, De Zalze Golf Estate
Reviewer Matthew Flax
3. Delaire Graff Restaurant
Situated on top of a hill on the dramatic Helshoogte Pass, Delaire Graff Restaurant is the full package when it comes to fine dining in the winelands, offering incredible views, immaculate interiors and excellent fare, so the steep prices should come as no surprise. South African head chef Michael Deg draws inspiration from local, seasonal cuisine, incorporating ingredients picked daily from the estate’s own greenhouse and vegetable garden, ensuring only the best and freshest ingredients are used.
We recommend The tasting menu if you’re there for dinner. It comprises 10 of chef Deg’s favourite dishes, paired with a carefully curated wine selection.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 2pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 9pm
Contact 021 885 8160, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Delaire Graff Restaurant, Helshoogte Road
4. Restaurant Jardine
George Jardine, the talent behind the acclaimed Jordan Restaurant, opened this exciting eatery in 2016, having earmarked the spot opposite the Stellenbosch Hotel years ago, and patiently waiting for it to become available. Inside, an old house has been converted into a warm and homely space where guests can expect a mouth-watering smorgasbord of chef Jardine’s signature flavourful dishes, paired with some of the best wines in Stellenbosch.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm (à la carte lunch)
Tuesday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 8pm (two-, three- or six-course set dinner; six-course tasting before 7.30pm only)
Contact 021 886 5020, email@example.com
Location Restaurant Jardine, 1 Andringa Street
Reviewer Matthew Flax
5. Spek & Bone
Named after their pets, Spek (a pig) and Bone (a boxer), Bertus and Mareli Basson’s latest offering is tucked away, just off Dorp Street, next to the original Stellenbosch Market. Not only does it feature the oldest vine in Stellenbosch, its entrance will make you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon a secret gem.
The Afrikaans saying “om vir spek en boontjies te werk” can be translated as “working for ordinary, good food rather than for money” – a concept that is echoed in the honest-to-goodness food offering and warm, relaxed interior. Here, the designed-to-share plates are the star of the show, supported by an excellent wine list.
We recommend dining al fresco-style in the hidden courtyard (if the sun’s out) and ordering as many plates as possible. Be sure to end off your meal with the mouthwatering Peppermint Crisp Cone.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11.3am – 2.30pm; 5.30pm – 9pm
Contact 082 569 8958, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Spek & Bone, 84 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
6. The Vine Bistro
Fronted by chef Christophe Dehosse (whose small menu changes regularly), this hidden gem is situated within a state-of-art building at Glenelly Estate and could just be equipped to rival even the biggest rivals in the area. It offers a French-inspired dining experience, no doubt reflected in the warm, yet elegant decor, which includes a mix of 19th-century chairs and classic Parisian tables.
On chilly days, it’s rather nice to cosy up to the fireplace or gather around the bar; but if the sun is out, sit at one of the long wooden tables on the outside deck or under the pergola, and enjoy beautiful views of the vineyards and surrounding hills while enjoying your meal.
We recommend pairing one of the estate’s fine wines with your meal, as they are designed to be perfect accomplices.
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 11.30pm – 3pm
Thursday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 8pm
Contact 021 809 6444, email@example.com
Location Glenelly Estate, Ida’s Valley, Lelie Street, Stellenbosch
7. Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar
The ever-popular De Warenmarkt (already home to Simon Wine Bar, The Kitchen, Ryan Boon Specialty Butcher and Deluxe Coffeeworks) welcomed the Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar in March 2017, where bubbly flows and fresh Saldanha Bay oysters abound. (What else do you really need?)
Good to know If MCC is not your thing, work your way through the solid Stellenbosch Wine of Origin wine list.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 7.30am – 9.30pm (Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar)
11am – 12pm (Simon Wine Bar)
Contact 021 883 2274, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Kaapse Vonkel MCC & Oyster Bar, De Warenmarkt, 20 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch
8. Jordan Restaurant
You’ll find George Jardine’s acclaimed restaurant on one of Stellenbosch’s most picturesque wine estates. Here, chef George and head chef Kyle Burn create meticulous dishes that are presented by professional, well-trained staff. If you love cheese, you’ll fall in love with the walk-in cheese room filled with local cheeses such as Fairview Blue Rock and Klein Rivier Gruyère.
Good to know Jordan Estate is also home to The Bakery, a relaxed eatery, with beautiful garden scenery, where you can enjoy an al fresco breakfast or lunch on the lawn or deck.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 2pm (October – April; summer)
Tuesday – Sunday (May – September; winter)
Thursday – Saturday, 6.30pm – 8pm (October – April; summer)
Thursday – Friday, 6.30pm – 7.30pm (May – September; winter)
Contact 021 881 3612, email@example.com
Location Jordan Restaurant, Stellenbosch Kloof Road
Situated on the foothills of the imposing Helderberg Mountain on Hidden Valley Wine Farm, Overture is yet another fine feather in the hat of top chef Bertus Basson. From humble beginnings, Overture has grown into a foodie destination of note, well-loved for its modern South African cuisine, beautiful views and impressive setting.
We recommend the well-balanced three-course à la carte menu, if you’re there for lunch. This allows you to sample a starter, main and dessert from the small, seasonal menu.
Good to know The restaurant has just undergone an exciting revamp, all the more reason to check it out. Plus, if you like burgers, you have to try one of Bertus’ creations at the cool, new burger deck – appropriately called The Deck – also at Hidden Valley.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm
Thursday – Saturday, 7pm – 12am
Contact 021 880 2721, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Overture, Hidden Valley Wines, T4 Route, off Annandale Road, R44, Stellenbosch
10. THE RESTAURANT AT CLOS MALVERNE
Whether you opt for the à la carte menu or the four-course food-and-wine experiences, the view from the wraparound balcony on this esteemed wine farm is priceless – and just one of the draw cards of this popular Stellenbosch restaurant.
We recommend the springbok loin with sweet baby beets, sweet potato crisps, carrot purée, red wine jus and onion dust (if you don’t go for the pairing menu).
Opening times Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 5pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)
Please note The restaurant will be closed from 26 June until 2 August 2017 for its annual winter break.
Contact 021 865 2022, email@example.com
Location The Restaurant at Clos Malverne, Devon Valley Road
Simonsig Wine Estate’s Cuvée Restaurant is the epitome of warm hospitality and old-world elegance, with a proudly modern-South African twist. The terrace has uninterrupted views of the majestic Simonsig Mountain, making it a lovely venue for a leisurely lunch. Head chef Stephanie de Wet uses local and seasonal ingredients to create an ever-changing menu full of fresh but comforting flavours.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11:30am – 4pm
Friday, 7pm – 10pm (seasonal)
Sunday, 11.30am – 3pm
Contact 021 888 4932, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Cuvee Restaurant, Kromme Rhee Road
12. The FatButcher
It opened in 2016 and already this relatively new steakhouse is being hailed for its top-quality meat (ask for pasture-reared if that’s your preference). Set in a traditionally Cape-style building, this restaurant offers guests a choice sitting indoors in the rustic yet oddly elegant eatery, in the attractive courtyard outside, or on the street-facing porch.
We recommend the steak, obviously. And leave space for a Belgian brownie!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11.30am – 10.30pm
Contact 021 882 8705, email@example.com
Location The FatButcher, Number 1, van Riebeek Street, Stellenbosch
13. Red Leaf Bistro
Beyerskloof’s Red Leaf Bistro is where you should head for tasty fare and great wine in a serene family-friendly setting. This tidy bistro, where rolling lawns are edged by lush vineyards, is still something of a hidden gem in the region, but we don’t expect it to remain that way for very long!
We recommend their signature dish, the Pinotage Burger, which has earned a great reputation all of its own among visitors.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 3.30pm
Wednesday – Friday, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Public Holidays, 11am – 3pm
Contact 021 865 2685, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Red Leaf Bistro, Beyerskloof Wine Estate, Koelenhof Road, R304, Stellenbosch
14. Cucina di Giovanni
Owing to the success of Giovanni’s long-standing Somerset West restaurant, the owners were inspired to introduce a sister restaurant at Eikendal Wine Estate, where the beautiful farm setting and picturesque views cap off a casual, family-friendly winelands experience.
In addition to a tasty Italian-themed menu, there’s also a kiddies’ menu (and a play park), so you can enjoy some of the estate’s award-winning wines, while the little ones play nearby.
We recommend the Cucina di Giovanni pizza – Parma ham and rocket – because we’re pizza purists. But if you like exotic ingredients on yours try Peter’s Pizza: tomato, mozzarella, beef fillet, red onion, mushroom and avocado.
Good to know There’s talk of a Giovannis opening at Laborie Estate in Paarl. In the meantime, enjoy tapas and pizzas at Pearl Rock Terrace, its sister restaurant.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 4pm; 6pm – 10pm
Sunday, 12pm – 4pm
Contact 021 855 5033, email@example.com
Location Cucina di Giovanni, Eikendal Wine Estate, R44, Eikendal Road, Stellenbosch
Tucked away in the historic Coopmanhuijs Hotel on Church Street, Helena’s is one of Stellenbosch’s most precious gems. The concise menu keeps things intimate and focused on South African flavours.
Read our full review of Helena’s Restaurant.
We recommend the rack of lamb, (cut from certified Karoo meat) and served with charred aubergine, fine beans, pearl couscous, chakalaka and yoghurt.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12.30pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 883 3132, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Helena’s Restaurant, 33 Church Street
16. Postcard Café
This laidback restaurant can be found on Stark-Condé Wine Farm, one of the most naturally beautiful settings in the Jonkershoek Valley. With delicious food and great wines, it’s perfect for a relaxed family lunch.
We recommend one of the popular favourites: the crispy fried prawn and calamari salad; the teriyaki beef burger with rice; or the spicy lamb curry with rice. Just make sure you save room for dessert, as the baked cheesecake and gluten-free dark chocolate cake are worth the drive alone.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 9.30am – 4pm
Contact 021 861 7703, email@example.com
Location Postcard Cafe, Stark-Condé Wine Estate, Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch
17. Oppie Dorp
Located in central Stellenbosch, Oppie Dorp offers simple decor that is rather charming, and the good service will having you coming back again and again.
We recommend anything off the small, but flavourful, menu. Popular favourites include springbok carpaccio (topped with roasted almonds, Parmesan shavings and balsamic reduction swirl); venison and beef fillet medallions.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Saturday, 6pm – 11pm
Sunday (June – July), 12pm – 3pm; (August – May), 12pm – 3pm; 6pm – 11pm
Contact 021 883 3889, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Oppie Dorp, 137 Dorp Street
18. Stellenbosch Kitchen
This family-style restaurant, housed in a historic building dating back to 1706, can be found on the corner of Dorp and Andringa Streets, and offers delicious local fare at reasonable prices. The restaurant’s pasture-to-plate approach means that only the region’s finest seasonal ingredients – sourced mainly from suppliers and growers within a 50km radius of the town – are used in the preparation of the flavourful dishes.
Sit on the terrace under the ancient oaks and watch the passers-by, or grab a table in the homely bistro, whose earthy tones blend perfectly with the wooden tables and patterned parquet floors. Posters of vintage postage stamps and decorative plates set into the bright-red walls add interest. For good old-fashioned hospitality and friendly service, you’ll have to go a long way to beat this friendly bistro.
We recommend a starter of risotto with exotic mushrooms, Grana Padano and truffle oil topped with finely sliced spring onions from the dinner menu. The roasted rack of Karoo lamb with carrot purée, spiced pear chutney, polenta and fine beans is delicious, as is the chocolate fondant dessert of black cherry and Valrhona chocolate with Bulgarian-yoghurt ice cream.
Try not to fill up on the complimentary bread board featuring a selection of in-house baked breads accompanied by delicious olive tapenade and herb butter – it’s almost a meal in itself. The wine list is pretty impressive, too.
X factor It’s covetable location in the historic heart of the city of oaks!
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 10.30am
Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 4pm
Monday – Sunday, 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Contact 021 883 2893,
Location Corner Dorp and Andringa Streets, Stellenbosch
Reviewer Jackie Lange
WE ALSO RATE THESE STELLENBOSCH SPOTS
Oude Werf Restaurant A chic hotel-restaurant that serves modern comfort food that’s flavourful and ethically sourced.
Waterkloof Wines A shining glass tower in the winelands, French wizard Gregory Czarnecki conjures up recipes inspired by his food-loving homeland.
Mise en Place You’ll find this relative newcomer at Asara Wine Estate & Hotel. Sit inside the elegant whitewashed restaurant or, if the weather is fair, on the waterside terrace, which overlooks miles mountains. Before heading home, make a turn at the hotel’s Gin Lounge, which boasts the largest selection of gins on the continent!
Tokara Restaurant Another Helshoogte beauty, the fine-dining restaurant at this wine and olive farm offers picture-perfect views of the surrounds, as well as a glance into chef Richard Carstens’ kitchen. Don’t feel like fine-dining? Grab a valley-facing table at the family-friendly deli.
96 Winery Road Fresh, seasonal produce, and a mouth-watering menu complemented by Ken Forrester and Meinert wines.
Makaron Restaurant This elegant, award-winning restaurant at Majeka House now offers an exciting small plates menu, courtesy of top chef, Lucas Carstens.
The Deck Courtesy of Bertus Basson (see above), this casual self-service joint on Hidden Valley Wine Farm serves mouthwatering burgers, with spectacular views.
Peter Falke Wines This contemporary tasting room (with great outdoor seating, including lazy beanbag loungers) does cheese platters, nachos, soup, meat options and even dessert!
La Pineta Located within a tranquil pine forest, previously known as Louw se Bos, this restaurant’s meat-driven menu is its drawcard, but there are other creative options available, too.
Floréal Brasserie Situated at Marianne Wine Estate, this casual restaurant serves fresh, brasserie-style food with a Franco-South African twist.
Dornier Bodega Housed in a restored barn, this family-friendly spot offers a seasonal menu of beautiful dishes, as well as a dedicated kiddies’ menu.
Somerbosch Bistro This wonderfully affordable, relaxed family bistro, located at Somerbosch estate, does daily specialities that are seasonal and scrumptious.
Mont Marie Surrounded by nature, this modern winelands restaurant is an affordable, family-friendly choice. Overlooking mountains and a nearby dam, the restaurant offers cosy indoor and leisurely outdoor seating.
Guardian Peak Restaurant Protected by mountains and boasting stunning views, this restaurant’s à la carte menu offers affordable, bistro-style options, with a focus on prime-quality steaks.
Joostenberg Bistro Another well-priced family bistro, you’ll find Joostenberg just off the N1. Here, French-inspired cuisine is served in an idyllic country setting complete with freely roaming chickens (and a lovely rose nursery nearby).
Le Venue Located at the House of JC Le Roux, with incredible views of Devon Valley, this contemporary restaurant does lovely breakfasts and light lunches that go down well with a glass or two of bubbly.
Towerbosch Yet another hidden gem, this elegant eatery on Knorhoek wine farm is a popular wedding venue that does delicious meals.
Restaurant Barrique Located at Vredenheim Estate, this owner-run restaurant makes for a delightful, warm dining experience – whether you sit in the restored wine cellar or out in the garden.
Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery The second of the Hoghouse branches is at Spier Wine Estate, and offers a variety of food and drinks, including craft-beer tasting and a selection of meaty specialties. The dreamy farm setting is always a win.
The Bakery at Jordan With beautiful garden views and a relaxed country vibe, this modern restaurant offers delicious light meals (as well as pastries, fresh coffee and just-baked bread) that can be enjoyed on the deck or lawns, al fresco style.
The Big Easy We nearly didn’t include this one, after Ernie was spotted playing golf with Donald Trump. Anyhow, we thought we’d give him the benefit of the doubt because the food is good, the wine list is excellent, and the building that houses the restaurant dates back to 1798, and is an interesting mix of Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architectural styles.
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